A megahit from the 8 Mile soundtrack, "Lose Yourself" was hip-hop as inspirational as Rocky, with Em rapping about the kind of poverty he grew up in — and showing the superhuman rhyme powers that got him out of it.
Two keyboard dorks air their rock-star fantasies — "I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin" — and force you to guess if it was an ironic goof, a biting satire or (just maybe) totally sincere. What made it great was the way that piercingly beautiful chorus kept you wondering.
This creepy hit encapsulated the dramatic flair that made Eminem so impossible to ignore in 2000. A deranged fan writes Em a series of unhinged letters, and as the song builds to a bloodcurdling climax, Em is forced to confront his rep as a bad role model. And despite Dido's reassurances, this story won't end well.
The song that re-established U2 as the world's biggest band looked backward, reviving the skyscraping sound of their Eighties classics. But the lyrics — "See the canyons broken by cloud/See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out" — were more ambivalent than the title suggested, a prayer for transcendence in a wounded world.